It’s quiet time for a few weeks. There’s been a bit too much party, and with Christmas Carol kicking off soon and December coming there’s a whole lot of party on the way. So the plan is to give my poor liver a break, eat well and get some exercise so I’m ready for a high energy show and post show every night without collapsing.
This evening I went home, refused all offers that involved going anywhere, cooked a two course meal for myself and lay on the sofa under a duvet with a cat on top for added warmth. I switched on iPlayer. Who needs a boiler? Cat heat is free. Time for Attenborough. Blue Planet 2.
David Attenborough is 91 years old now. Like the Queen, he has just … always been there. Unlike the Queen, he’s teaching us beautiful things and paying his taxes. I’m thrilled we still have him narrating these incredible documentaries. He must be thrilled to see how far technology has come since he first started making content like this in the 1950’s. His tones are all about wonder. It’s as if he’s just constantly astonished by life on earth, which I suspect is the case. It’s got him out of bed every morning for decades now, bringing images and thoughts about the diversity of nature right into our living rooms. You have to be made out of bricks not to be astonished by much of his content, and this latest show is a masterpiece. And I’m sure that his fully developed wide eyed sense of wonder is the thing that has kept him looking so alive and able to still talk to us from the prow of a boat.
War drives technology, yes. But profit drives technology too, and these shows sell, so they get a big budget to play with. They use it brilliantly, pushing the boundaries of submersible exploration and camera technology, boldly going where no-one has gone before, and bringing back videos.
In the course of two episodes I must have had my mind blown about 8 times. Bird-eating fish, transparent headed fish, fish at the bottom of the Mariana trench, surfing dolphins, walrus-fights, volcanic life generating stack things… It’s remarkable watching. Particularly if you just want to zone out and let that familiar voice carry you through endless wonders. Yes there’s also an environmental message, but as you’d expect from Attenborough it’s done gently. He just shows you things and tells you we’ve done it, and plays a bit of inauspicious sounding music.
He likes his comparisons. “Energy of ten thousand nuclear bombs”, “pressure equivalent of 50 jumbo jets.” But he’s 91. It’s better he’s making these eccentric comparisons than getting handsy with the intern.
What a remarkable life he must have led. After that double dose of wonder, I’m going to make a hot water bottle and curl up ahead of a ten a.m run through of Macbeth tomorrow. I expect I’ll dream of traveling round the world with Attenborough. Screw being The Queen. David Attenborough has the best job in the world.